The President Receives a Briefing from Top Officials on the Response
President Obama met with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner and other senior White House officials to receive a briefing on the administration-wide response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill.
Secretary Napolitano discussed the ongoing efforts to fight the oil near shore and offshore and the cleanup of impacted shorelines with nearly 42,000 personnel, more than 5,300 vessels and over 100 aircraft. Admiral Allen discussed the federal government’s authorization for BP to continue the well integrity test for another 24 hours, and reported on efforts to look for anomalies in pressure readings and the status of the relief well. Administrator Lubchenco discussed the potential for severe weather in the Gulf, which is being closely monitored. Secretary Chu wrapped up the briefing with an overview of the ongoing work by the federal science team to collect and analyze acoustic, sonar and seismic data. The President pushed his team to be prepared for any scenarios related to the potential development of a tropical storm in the Gulf.
A photograph of the President’s briefing is available here.
Admiral Allen Provides an Update on the Well Integrity Test and Response Efforts
Admiral Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. Allen discussed his authorization for BP to continue the well integrity test for another 24 hours, contingency plans that would be implemented in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, and preparations for a final casing run to reinforce the wellbore—a step that must be taken before a static kill could proceed and before a bottom kill could be conducted through a relief well. A transcript is available here.
NOAA Releases a Data Report on Air Quality Measurements Near the Well Site
As part of continued efforts to monitor the environmental impacts of the BP oil spill, NOAA scientists today released a data report on air quality measurements collected in June in the vicinity of the well site. The levels of nearly 100 air pollutants, measured with sophisticated air sampling instruments onboard a NOAA WP-3D research aircraft are summarized in the report.
The EPA continues to collect air, water and sediment samples to study the environmental impacts of the BP oil spill. Surface water samples collected on July 13-15 along the Gulf Coast found that nickel exceeded chronic water benchmarks in one sample. At this level, nickel may cause risk to aquatic life. For more information on EPA monitoring, click here.
Fourth Branch Office in Florida Panhandle Provides Increased Local Coordination
With another opening in Port St. Joe, the Florida Panhandle now has four branch offices dedicated to providing coordinated and rapid oil spill response efforts to near shore and inland waterway areas. Under the joint tactical direction of the U.S. Coast Guard and BP, the branches are responsible for beach cleaning, implementing the Vessel of Opportunity programs, and boom deployment and maintenance. Branches are currently located in Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, and Port St. Joe—serving Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, Wakulla, and Jefferson counties.
Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, a total of 262 personnel, 83 vessels and four helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. Clean-up crews removed stranded absorbent boom at Delta and Breton National Wildlife Refuges yesterday. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 37 two-person teams, 23 support personnel and 12 vessels responded to 45 Wildlife Hotline calls. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Administration Continues to Oversee BP’s Claims Process
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. To date, 121,217 claims have been opened, from which more than $226 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,118 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. Additional information about the BP claims process and all available avenues of assistance can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov.
By the Numbers to Date:
- The administration has authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to respond to this crisis; currently, 1,662 are active.
- Approximately 41,600 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 5,300 vessels are currently responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
- More than 3.49 million feet of containment boom and 7.62 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 798,000 feet of containment boom and 3.08 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- More than 34.7 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 1.84 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 771,000 sub-sea. Approximately 577,000 gallons are available.
- 411 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 11.14 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. Because calculations on the volume of oil burned can take more than 48 hours, the reported total volume may not reflect the most recent controlled burns.
- 17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
- Approximately 626 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 363 miles in Louisiana, 108 miles in Mississippi, 70 miles in Alabama, and 85 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.
- Approximately 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 65 percent remains open. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
- To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, the European Union’s Monitoring and Information Centre, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.
- To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (713) 323-1670.
- To volunteer, or to report oiled shoreline, call (866) 448-5816. Volunteer opportunities can also be found here.
- To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system, or to submit alternative response technology, services, or products, call 281-366-5511.
- To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
- For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill.
- To file a claim with BP, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance on procedures to seek that compensation can be found here.
- In addition, www.disasterassistance.gov has been enhanced to provide a one-stop shop for information on how to file a claim with BP and access additional assistance—available in English and Spanish.
- Any members of the press who encounter response personnel restricting their access or violating the media access policy set forth by Admiral Allen should contact the Joint Information Center. Click here for more information, including a list of regular embed opportunities.